By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday night 50,000 adoring fans cheered on Barack H. Obama as he accepted his party’s nomination to run for a second term for President of the United States. Millions more watched on network tv, cable news networks, and the internet. Both the Democratic and Republican Party nominees will be on the ballot on November 6th in all 50 states.
Law, tradition, organization, and historical performance makes it easy for the two major parties to get their party’s candidates on the ballot. It is not so easy for supporters of third parties. The Constitution Party nominee for President is for Democratic State legislator Virgil Goode. The Libertarian Party Candidate nominee for President is former Republican and New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. The Green Party Candidate for President is Dr. Jill Stein. Alabama voters MIGHT not see any of these candidates on their November 6th General Election ballots.
Thursday night ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ spoke with Richard Rutledge the Chairman and CEO of the Alabama Conservative Party. Chairman Rutledge has been supporting efforts by the Constitution and Libertarian Parties to get their Presidential candidates on the Alabama ballot. Both parties have been paying people to collect the signatures of registered Alabama voters who supported giving Goode and Johnson ballot access.
Chairman Rutledge and his fellow third party activists collected the petitions gathered over weeks by the petition canvassers for the Constitution Party and drove them to Montgomery where they were hand delivered at the Secretary of State’s office. The Constitution Party was working closely with the Libertarian Party so that both party’s nominees could have the 46,000++ signatures needed to get on the Alabama ballot as a third party candidate. Rutledge said that he returned to Birmingham following the delivery. The Libertarian Party leaders arrived at the Secretary of State’s office with their signed petitions later……perhaps too late. Rutledge said the Libertarians called him an hour earlier and said that there was a big blowup with the Secretary of State’s office about those last 6,000 to 7,000 petitions they delivered and he did not know whether either Johnson or Goode will be allowed on the ballot in Alabama at this point.
Rutledge said that both of the major parties were working to limit ballot access by third parties in this election across much of the country. Rutledge said that he was concerned over the health of our countries elections if the two parties control who gets to be on the ballots.
Richard Rutledge said that he and the Constitution Party’s leaders both tried to recruit candidates in the Alabama House District 30 and House District 34 Special Elections and no one came forward to challenge the two party system in either of those races. Qualifying in the H.D. 30 race is over and independent or third party candidates in H.D. 30 have until Friday, September the 14th to turn in their petitions and paperwork; but at this point Rutledge did not think anybody was running as a third party candidate or an independent.